Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema
Since its origin, cinema has had an uneasy friendshi with science and technology: scientists are almost always impossibly mad or impossibly saintly, and technology is usually very bad for you. In Mad, Bad and Dangerous? Christopher Frayling explores the genealogy of the cinematic scientist in films made in western Europe and, well, in Hollywood, showing how the fictional scientist has often been used to represent the prevailing phobias of the time: in the 1920s it was poison gas, in the 1950s it was botched atomic research, and today it is genetic engineering; in the eantime, the traditional 'mad scientist' has made way for the nameless lab genius controlled by global corporations. But there are surprising consistencies too. " In parallel, Christopher Frayling also examines the portrayal of real-life scientists in movies, noting how they hav in the main depicted as misfits, immersed in their work, sacrificing any normal life to the interests of science, yet distrusted by the scientific establishment. Indee, the cinematic portrayal of fictional and real-life scientists follow very similar dramatic conventions: the mad scientist and the saintly one may be the two sides of the same Hollywood coin. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? concludes with timely thoughts about how all these cinematic images have an impact on everyday life.
Original Title of the Book
Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema
Published October 31st 2013 by Reaktion Books (first published January 28th 2000